“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:21-25).
Jesus brought Christians to a higher standard when he preached the will of God. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” (Matthew 5:38-40). “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and send rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Yes, Christ brought his followers and believers to a whole new level of forgiveness through the strength only God can give. I have truly had my heart broken in to pieces. I have felt the pain of someone who hurt me, wept full of sorrow where you have to tell yourself to breathe. I have sat at the foot of the cross and laid each of the ones who have scarred my heart there, asking Yeshua to fill me with the forgiveness he prayed at the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).
The New Testament is full of scripture encouraging us to forgive. The Apostle Paul writes to Philippi praying the church come together for two Christian women. First of all, it is embarrassing Paul had to address this situation, but I do understand the reality of Christians at war with one another. We are to be a light in a very dark world, epistles of the Word, ambassadors for Christ, yet the world looks on to divisions in the church, Christians attacking one another, cutting of friendships for an offense and the lukewarmness of a loveless generation. My heart is burdened for the church to love one another, forgive those who have painfully broken our hearts and to find the peace only Christ can give.
Euodia and Syntyche were two women mentioned in Philippians 4:2-3, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, local yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the book of life.” These two women were Christians who had contended with Paul, side by side planting the seed of the Gospel. Whether through missions, providing for the Apostle, encouraging other women to follow or opening a home to bible study, these women were followers of Christ whom God entrusted with his Word.
Some way, division is brought between these two women. Some where, the enemy was able to find a crack in the foundation of one of these women and planted a seed of strife. Some how, the seed of strife grows in to an argument and the Apostle Paul hears the situation; that should be of no shock to anyone of us. News by word of mouth travels at the speed of lightening, especially in the churches. I find it amazing how news of a sinful nature spreads like wild fire, but news of a miracle or one accepting Christ as his/her Savior is stifled.
In the Gospel of Mark 7:20-23 and Galatians 5:19-21, Jesus and the Apostle Paul list what comes out of a person that makes them unclean. Christ said from within our hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. Inspired by the Spirit, the Apostle pens sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like are in a battle within our spirits. “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:17-18).
Each one of the above listed fleshly desires can cause bitterness, an argument, division and hatred. Arguments occur for many reasons, but mostly because we are offended by another’s behavior or lack of behavior. At times our annoyance, frustration or anger is righteous, a godly anger as Christ had flipping over the tables in the Temple for the religious had made God’s House into a den of thieves. We expect Christians to behave as the bible commands and when they do not, we are annoyed, offended and angry. I have experienced this many times and have brought it to the cross or my husband first. During these times I was offended or hurt, Tommy would advise, offering counsel from a calm perspective, while I attempted to receive from an irrational emotional stance. I would pray, lay the situation at the cross and wait a few days.
Many times, God would have may drop the circumstance out of my own sensitive feelings being hurt or I was too easily offended. This is my flesh growing and having the peace of Christ to forgive. These situations: someone forgetting a promise, a person making a rude remark, someone dictating to me how she wanted to receive a blessing I was giving to her, not receiving invites to friend’s outings, feeling used for prayer or counsel and not for friendship, forgetting my birthday, being ignored by those who are suppose to be loving in the church, rejected by those I had helped are all examples to what I would lay at the cross, ask Tommy’s advise and pray if I should say anything. Each of these situations were kept in prayer, between the Lord and myself, but me learning to not be easily offended.
There are some instances where you lay it down and walk away, but then there are some we are to confront face to face. When I say face to face, I mean no emails, texts, phone calls or letters. If there is a delicate situation, where the Lord has asked you to mend, forgive and bring to the attention of another, this requires gentle face to face prayer and mending. According to James 1:19, “Understand, my believed brethren, let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry; for man’s anger does not promote the righteousness of God.” My prayer is the situation be brought to the Lord first, your husband and wait a few days before “mending”. “A self-confident fool utters all his anger, but a wise man holds it back and stills it.” (Proverbs 29:11). “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger commits and causes much transgression.” (Proverbs 29:22).
We are called to love one another as Christ loved the church. We are asked as long it is in our power to make peace, then we are to be the peacemakers not repaying evil for evil, but overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:14-21). This effort, emotion and response require humility. “As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gently; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3). Pride is a tremendous hindrance in settling disputes between relationships. Who believes who is right, who believes who is wrong.
We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the Lord, then he will lift us up and give us honor (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7). Give the disagreement to the Lord, pray, and open the door for communication. We can not MAKE a person understand our feelings, point of view or expect another to apologize. If a one on one conversation does not work or the situation is not rectified, then pray about bringing it before a pastor. If this person is a true friend and Christian, one who feels the same about you desiring to overcome the disagreement, the bringing the problem before a pastor should be considered. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ever matter maybe established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18: 15-17). These are stern words from a Savior, but I do understand strife, dissension, factions, arguments in the church cause division, lukewarmness, gossiping, slander, etc making our witness futile.
I have not always been able to work out disagreements with others. There have been some situations I have cast aside due to my own easily offended feelings, then there have been arguments were I have had to pray, seek the Lord’s counsel as to address the person and then some situations just need to be laid at the altar and God reconcile them for you. I had an argument with a family member, not talking for years. It was so sad, but I prayed and left the relationship at the cross. What I did not know was, the other party had done the same thing. A year later, God brought our relationship back together, standing on faith and declaring we would never separate again. I have had other disagreements with unbelievers and have asked the Lord for guidance, prayed and lay it at the foot of the cross. Slowly these relationships have been built back up, but at times I can feel myself very leery in allowing my feelings to show. God will work out all things for those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
I have never experienced a church bring a member forward to open the debate to the congregation. Although I have heard of one account where molestation occurred between youths at a church camp; sadly the situation was not rectified, members left the church, and the accused never brought to accountability. I believe these are rare instances, but as we draw closer to the end times, these situations will occur more frequently.
I pray, my sweet sister, you have no Spirit of Strife or divisions in your life. My prayer is you quickly run to the cross, cast all your cares over to the Lord and forgive the ones who have caused you hurt. My prayer is your relationships are mended by the hand of God. My prayer is you grow stronger in the Word, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then being able to know what the good, pleasing and perfect will of God is (Romans 12:2). My prayer is the church isn’t easily offended, careless, loveless and lukewarm. My prayer is we are epistles and light to a dark world, loving the ones who do not deserve our forgiveness for our sins are forgiveness daily in the eyes of God. We are to conduct ourselves in the same manner.
Let us Pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God:
I want to know you and the power of your resurrection. My heart’s desire is to become more like you; purified seven times over, humbling myself to your perfect will and plan. I know the very people in my life are hand picked by you. I know my family and the friends you have brought to me should be loved and cherished with prayer and thanksgiving, for I have been blessed to not have walked with wicked or stand with sinners or have sat with the mockers. I love your law and I meditate on it day and night. I desire to be a stream of living water bearing fruit in due season whose leaf never withers but continues to grow strong and prosperous (Psalm 1:1-3). I know that can not be accomplished if there is strife, anger, bitterness and division in my life.
I pray for your healing hand to mend the relationship between myself and __________________. I desire to be the peacemaker, to hold no offense and bitterness for I know as long as it is up to me, I am called to bless and pray for those who have hurt me. I pray my mouth never cause a spark I can not mend or will regret the next day. I pray I to be self controlled in all situations, guarding my mouth and what I say to please you, but also to not cause transgression or strife.
I cast this relationship and all my care for you are my vindicator and redeemer. You hold the truth and will testify for me and your judgment is just. I pray if I am to bring this disagreement before a pastor or counselor, you will lead me to that person. I pray to be humble, gentle and Christ like to __________________ so I can lead by example and he/she can see a true follower of Christ. I believe you work all things out for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose (Romans 8:28). I confess to be transformed by the renewing of my mind so I will know your good, pleasing and perfect will for this situation (Romans 12:2).
We are called to love one another as Christ loved the church. We are asked as long it is in our power to make peace, then we are to be the peacemakers not repaying evil for evil, but overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:14-21). This effort, emotion and response require humility, so as a prisoner of the Lord, I desire to live a life worthy of the calling I have received. Being completely humble and gentle; being patient, bearing with one another in love. I will make effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). I want to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry; for man’s anger does not promote the righteousness of God (James 1:19).
Thank you for removing this seed of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. I thank you for the cross, Christ’s precious blood spilled for me. I pray I can be as my Savior asking you to forgive ________________ for ____________does not know what they are doing, but if I am the one who has committed an offense, I pray to quickly mend and apologize for causing another one pain. Thank you Lord I can bring this to you, thank you I can call you friend and thank you Lord for healing me heart. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.